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Experiential spatial design for Youth Dreams Forum

Aalto University master’s students in spatial design created encouraging experiences for young people.
Festival bracelets at the event. Photo: Anna Berg.

Organised by the Finnish Children and Youth Foundation, the Dreams Forum attracted approximately 1 000 young people and 100 teachers from lower secondary schools around Nokia Finland’s Karaportti campus in Espoo on 24 May. The purpose of the event was to reinforce young people’s belief in the future and encourage them to pursue their dreams. Aalto University master’s students Laura Brotherus and Mari Laajasalo did spatial and service design for the event as part of their studies in spatial design.

‘Our umbrella theme was to give the event a festival-type feel. Young people of this age can’t participate in festivals yet, so it’s an exciting experience for them,’ says Brotherus. In line with the event’s message, the designers wanted to emphasise optimism, humour and a sense of community. The spatial design included designing signs to direct traffic and creating functional activity points. ‘We wanted to create opportunities to do things together and approachable, low-threshold functions that allowed young people to jump in and realise: “Hey, I can do this!,” explains Laajasalo. ‘We also took social media use into account in the spatial design by deliberately creating selfie backgrounds,’ sums up Brotherus.

Brotherus and Laajasalo in Dreams Forum's balloon room. Photo: Anna Berg.

This was the first time that Aalto students were involved in spatial design at the Dreams Forum. Tuula Colliander, who is Executive Director of the Finnish Children and Youth Foundation, was impressed with the results. ‘Experiential design brought the location and message to life in a completely new way in comparison to previous years – we had a lot more stimuli and encounters. I was particularly pleased with how the students familiarised themselves with the foundation’s values and highlighted them in the design. That had huge added value for us,’ says Colliander.

More information:

Antti Pirinen, Lecturer in spatial design
[email protected], p. 040 530 0828

Pirita Posti, Aalto ARTS Corporate services manager
[email protected], p. 050 364 6381

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